Google Nexus 5X and Nexus 6P review roundup: impressive Android flagships

20 Oct 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

14 Things You Can Do in Android Marshmallow That You Couldn’t Do in Lollipop.

Google’s latest flagship Android smartphones, the Nexus 5X and Nexus 6P, have been met with a warm welcome from early reviewers as they go on sale to the general public.Whether you’ve put in an order for a Nexus 6P or you’re patiently waiting for Android version 6.0 to reach your Galaxy S6, you’ll want to know what Marshmallow can do for you.Google has updated its Compatibility Definition document for Android 6.0, which essentially tells phone and tablet makers what they need to properly run the company’s latest and greatest operating system. There are at least three highlights worth pointing out: Android 6.0 requires that manufacturers enable full-disk encryption by default, what exactly fingerprint sensors require, and Doze mode cannot be modified.

Of course, unlike Apple, Google updates all its key apps independently of the OS as a whole—that means there’s not quite as much to talk about with an Android update as there is with an iOS one. At this stage (stock) Android is pretty much Google Now with a settings page and a dialer app, but Marshmallow still offers plenty of reasons to look forward to your upgrade. It’s designed to understand context better than ever before, so songs, movies, venues and the like are automatically identified inside the current app and you get a bunch of relevant links. I imagine that when Google imagined hardware and software working in perfect harmony one day, the 6P was the device they unknowingly fantasized about.

The company then backpedaled and decided to “strongly recommend” encryption, though it promised to change that to a requirement in future versions of Android. For device implementations supporting full-disk encryption and with Advanced Encryption Standard (AES) crypto performance above 50MiB/sec, the full-disk encryption MUST be enabled by default at the time the user has completed the out-of-box setup experience. If a device implementation is already launched on an earlier Android version with full-disk encryption disabled by default, such a device cannot meet the requirement through a system software update and thus MAY be exempted. If you’re completely new to the USB Type-C party, it essentially provides faster charging, faster data transfer, advanced multitasking (if you want to output video and charge your device at the same time, say) and most importantly of all, reversible cables. A lockscreen is still not required, but if a user decides to start using one, this change means it is now no longer necessary to re-encrypt the whole disk.

It was obvious that iOS had it right as far as transparent, granular app permissions were concerned, and Android Marshmallow admits as much, because it now has a very similar system. You can use your fingerprint to unlock your device, authorize transactions in the Google Play store, sign into third-party apps, and check out with Android Pay. Is STRONGLY RECOMMENDED to have a false rejection rate not higher than 10%, and a latency from when the fingerprint sensor is touched until the screen is unlocked below 1 second, for 1 enrolled finger. Third-party manufacturers have been adding fingerprint sensors to their hardware for a while now, but Android 6.0 Marshmallow represents the first time it’s actually been supported by the core OS itself.

MUST have a hardware-backed keystore implementation, and perform the fingerprint matching in a Trusted Execution Environment (TEE) or on a chip with a secure channel to the TEE. You’re still relying on your actual phone to offer a fingerprint sensor, but most future handsets will include such capabilities now that Google has seen fit to add support for it to Android. MUST prevent adding a fingerprint without first establishing a chain of trust by having the user confirm existing or add a new device credential (PIN/pattern/password) using the TEE as implemented in the Android Open Source project. Pain like that can make you philosophical: It made me reexamine the role these powerful little devices play in our lives — it may be too big for our own good.

How exactly this will impact phones and tablets that upgrade to Android 6.0 remains to be seen, though it shouldn’t take more than re-scanning your fingerprint. This is Google’s high-end, ultra-premium device, the one it made to show partners, developers, and the world just how good an Android device can be. Last but not least, Doze mode is meant to make your device use fewer resources when left unattended: It automatically goes into a deep sleep state to conserve power. That said, even if you forget to plug in your phone before bed, your phone’s alarm clock will still ring (assuming your battery doesn’t completely run out). As before you can still allow certain events, apps and contacts to make an audible alert on your device while the volume is down (Sound & notification in Settings).

It has great specifications, provides you with the latest version of Android and the promise of first updates in the future, and is priced less than other flagship phones. I usually expect to be let down in some area with a Nexus phone, but that is not the case this year with the Nexus 6P and I struggled to find any cons. Founded in 1998 by Stanford Ph.D. students Larry Page and Sergey Brin, Google today is a top web property in all major glob… read more » Nobody really knows why Google gets involved in phone-making. I picked up the 5X at last month’s event and thought “Wow, this is really light.” Before I got to spend real time with both the 5X and 6P, I thought that this was going to be the device that drags me away from the iPhone 6.

That means you get access to all of the standard features inside Chrome (like your saved passwords) rather than having to put up with some lightweight web viewer put together by the app’s developer. The other new Nexus, however — the $379 LG Nexus 5X — does fit neatly into the $400-or-less price range that’s become the standard for new Android phones (many phone makers are coming around to the belief that competing with Apple in the premium price ranges is a losing proposition). When you’re selecting text using Android Marshmallow, the OS automatically extends your selection to match whole words so you spend less time fiddling about trying to get exactly the right words or phrases highlighted on screen. If you still need character-by-character selection then you can drag the blue handles back in from the front or end of your selection— but as you drag them out you’ll go a whole word at a time.

Even though the OnePlus 2 and the Moto X Pure offer a better deal and slightly better specs, they lack that speedy fingerprint sensor and don’t deliver a pure Android experience. VentureBeat’s Jordan Novet appreciated the device’s camera and performance, although like other reviewers, drew attention to relatively short battery life: Were it not for the 6P, it could have handled the spotlight perfectly well on its own.

One of the minor but neat tricks Android Marshmallow has up its sleeve is the ability to automatically understand the people and the apps you share with most often. It commands respect from the second you rest your finger on the fingerprint scanner, and the niceties in Android Marshmallow are on display long after that.

There is, however, a lot of room at the top and bottom of the phone for the microphone and speaker grills and the front camera sensors — too much room in my opinion. If you try and run a personal Google search (“show my flights,”“next appointment”), access to the results is blocked until you unlock the device as normal. These thin lines, which are very obvious on the iPhone 6s and other phones, are there to interrupt the metal in various places so that it doesn’t interfere with the wireless signal being sent and received by the antennas. There’s also the option to hide certain indicators from the status bar (from airplane mode to Bluetooth) and you can also toggle a new battery percentage indicator on or off. Managing default apps is a bit of a mess in Android at the moment (but at least it’s there right, iOS fans?) and Marshmallow tries to help without actually doing much good.

You could just as easily get a third-gen Moto X for $399 with 16GB (and expand that storage via a microSD card) and you’ll get a larger and higher-res screen, stock Android with Motorola’s useful software tweaks, and a fairly capable camera. As well as checking up on average memory use as a whole, you can see which apps are hogging the biggest slice of your system resources—the utility lets you break down the statistics for the last 3, 6, 12 or 24 hours. You get Motorola’s ambient display and always-on voice commands, LG’s laser auto focus, and Google’s software design, security, and fast updates. This year’s crop of Nexus phones are devices that stand alone atop the Android ecosystem, with a combination of features you won’t find anywhere else. That means not only will all of your apps come back like magic whenever you do a restore, but all of your app settings and preferences are going to come back, too.

The resolution of the photos I shot with the 6P’s 12.3-megapixel rear-facing camera seemed equal to that of the photos I shot with the 12-megapixel camera on my iPhone 6s. The phone was fully charged at noon on Friday, and while I watched very little video and played games for only 15 minutes or so over the weekend, the thing didn’t completely out of gas until about 8:30 on Sunday night.

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